- Craig Graziano
It's an Orange Aardvark! follows a few imaginative carpenter ants as they peer out of a soggy tree stump. Orange fills up the stump's interior. According to the insects, aardvarks always turn orange when they are hungry for ants. Judging by the intensity of the color, this one seems mighty famished. As one ant gnaws more holes in the stump, different colors stream in, and the colony lets their imaginations run wild.
Next they see blue, so the aardvark must be wearing blue pajamas! A splash of red leads them to suspect that their predator is wielding a gigantic bottle of ketchup! From there, things get even stranger.
Hall's illustrations are strongly reminiscent of Eric Carle's best work, with bright colors and angular shapes. He even tips a hat to The Very Hungry Catepillar by making the holes in the tree stump actual holes in the pages. I also loved that each carpenter ant had a tiny construction helmet.
The lesson of different colors makes the story slightly repetitive, but no more than the saga of that aforementioned catepillar. What's more, the punchlines that arrive with each new hue are so silly that parents and children alike will want to return to the ants' mystery again and again.
Will our ant friends find themselves at the mercy of a ketchup-loving, aardvark looking for a bedtime snack? Has their soggy tree stump home become more of a prison? Just how does an aardvark get so orange? All of your questions will be answered in It's an Orange Aardvark!